The bright, infectious numbers by Aly Spaltro were backlit by citrus-colored lights and a neon green “Even in the Tremor” sign on a recent Wednesday night at Lincoln Hall.
Spaltro, more recognizable as Lady Lamb—formerly Lady Lamb the Beekeeper—has, like her name, also undergone several iterations in her music, fluctuating from sparse acoustic ballads to the bigger, rockier sound she was embracing on the Deep Love tour. The songs retain their lyrical power, but sometimes the winding, tumbling word gymnastics can get slightly lost in—or even weigh down—the crashing instrumentation.
Originally from Maine, she’s now a New Yorker with an aversion to Manhattan. This is explained in the tour’s namesake song, “Deep Love,” which came to her at the end of a particularly bad day spent walking the city streets and feeling disconnected with every person (“zombie”). She was lifted out of her funk after arriving home in Brooklyn where she witnessed two neighbors having an emotional moment: “When I walk by my neighbor and he’s on his front steps with his two scruffy dogs and he’s cooing their names, and his wife comes out to join him and they coo those names in unison. They kiss those dirty little noses and I watch from the sidewalk as they live inside all that love.”
There were a handful of these types of soul-bearing tales throughout the night—like the one describing the day her mom told her about death in a Pizza Hut when she was five. It’s her storytelling that sets her apart and has built a solid fan base, many of whom occupied the Lincoln Hall crowd. The past seemed to be a reoccurring theme, and an old Lady Lamb tune snuck its way in—one Spaltro wrote when she was 19—but she renamed it to trick those who may know it (curious if any devoted followers were able to single it out!) Over the last dozen years, Spaltro has released three full albums and two EP’s, capturing fragments of humanity and making it her particular blend of folk music. The latest LP, Even in the Tremor (Ba Da Bing), dips a little darker in tone, grappling with the anxieties of life as a 30-something.
Minnesota-based Alex Schaff, who plays guitar for Lady Lamb, played an opening set along with another Brooklyn singer-songwriter, Renata Zeiguer, whose Old Ghosts LP debuted as a quiet indie pop release last year. Zeiguer has played violin and piano since childhood, and this musicality shines through on the record.
The highlight of the night was when Spaltro weaved her way into the center of the room. The tambourine she raised high could be seen by those along the perimeter, but otherwise she was hidden with just the sound of her voice floating above the circle that formed. Some lucky ones got a close-up view, including several who knew every word and sang along inches from the Lady herself.